Plan Your Swiss Vacation with Our Ultimate European Travel Guide

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Switzerland remains a popular tourist destination, especially for U.S. citizens. If you are considering a visit to this beautiful country, there are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your trip. Below, you’ll discover the best time to travel to Switzerland, what popular tourist attractions you should add to your itinerary, what travel documents you will need, and more.


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U.S. Travel to Switzerland

U.S. travel to Switzerland remains popular as the country has so much to see and do. Of course, skiers are entering Switzerland all winter, but this country is truly a year-round destination.

Those traveling to Switzerland from the U.S. likely know about the famous Swiss Alps, but there are many other great reasons to visit Switzerland. The world-class cities of Zürich and Geneva are vibrant cultural hubs that offer something for everyone. The town of Basel hosts the renowned arts festival each June. Towns like Bern and Zermatt offer visitors a charming escape into village life that is much more slow-paced and will find you lost in time.

And of course, no visit to the country would be complete without some serious chocolate consumption. Even if you aren't a lover of sweets, Swiss chocolate is like nothing else on Earth!

On this page, we’ll cover Switzerland entry restrictions and COVID-19 related requirements for entering the country too.

 

Transportation for U.S. Travel to Switzerland

U.S. travel to Switzerland is not difficult as there are direct flights from many major U.S. airports, such as New Jersey’s Newark, New York’s JFK, Chicago's O'Hare, and California’s LAX. The best way to travel to Switzerland from the U.S. is by taking a flight from one of these U.S. hubs into a major Swiss city like Zürich or Geneva. From there, you can take connecting flights to Bern, Davos, Zermatt, and Basel.

If you wish to take the scenic route and are considering entering Switzerland by train, you can fly into one of many European hubs in London, Paris, or Frankfurt before taking the train into Switzerland.

Train travel is very efficient and quite common for those traveling between European countries and within Switzerland. There's no reason to limit your visit to just one part of the country. Flying into a main city and then navigating the rest of the country by train is not only easy, but it is also incredibly scenic!

 

Swiss Travel Recommendations

Travel sites such as FodorsTravelocity, and Expedia offer endless Swiss travel recommendations and tourist attraction reviews at your disposal. Below are some tourism recommendations to help get your planning started, including when to travel to Switzerland, the best cities to visit, and the top tourist attractions to explore. 

 

When to Travel to Switzerland

Like many other locales, Switzerland's temperature can vary throughout the year. If you are planning a visit, the first thing to consider is what you will be doing when you are there. Skiers will want to visit anytime from mid-January to mid-March for the best snow. Hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts will want to visit during July and August for the warmer weather. Budget travelers who still want great weather may wish to consider a September visit when the weather is still nice but tourism is winding down.

The high tourism seasons are July and August in summer and January and February in winter. Many visitors like to travel to Switzerland over Christmas and the New Year, but be aware that you won't be the only one with that idea. Anyone who is looking to avoid crowds and high prices will want to plan their trip outside of those months.

 

Best Cities to Visit in Switzerland

The best-known cities of Zürich and Geneva have a lot to offer international visitors. Visit Zürich’s Museum of Art with pieces dating back to the 1200s or the Swiss National Museum, home to Switzerland’s largest collection of historic artefacts. The old town of Lindenhof is a great elevated spot to relax, shaded with lime trees and a view of Zürich’s oldest quarters. Don’t forget the Grossmünster monastic church from the 1400s too.

Geneva is home to Lake Geneva and the Cathédrale de Saint-Pierre, a stunning cathedral sitting on a hill that overlooks Geneva. You can visit the International Museum of Red Cross and Red Crescent to learn about the organization’s history and its role around the world.

There are other areas of the country that are popular with tourists too. Smaller cities like Lausanne, Bern, and Basel also have a lot to offer. Alpine villages like Davos and Zermatt are also popular destinations for international visitors.

 

Top Tourist Attractions in Switzerland

  • Art Basel – This festival features art collectors from all around the globe who come to this charming town each June. Art Basel is one of the world's most important art festivals. If you are a serious collector, or just enjoy seeing amazing art from all mediums, plan your Swiss visit around this exciting June weekend.

  • Lake Geneva – Lake Geneva is the largest European alpine lake that rests on the borders of Switzerland and France. If you are looking for a beautiful background for your hiking and boating adventures, this is the place to visit! Tourists can find culture, outdoor adventures, and fine dining all along this magnificent body of water. Jazz lovers will want to be in town for the Montreaux Jazz Fest that occurs each June and July.

  • The Matterhorn and the Swiss Alps – If you want to see this iconic peak, head south toward the Swiss border with Italy. Finding a base in the charming village of Zermatt is a great way to explore this breathtaking area.

  • Lindt Home of Chocolate – Zürich is a town filled with history and beautiful architecture that is in close proximity to the Alps. However, no visit to Zurich would be complete without at least one chocolate tasting! Visitors to the Lindt Home of Chocolate will discover how this delicious treat is made while sampling some of the best chocolate in the world!

  • Lucerne Music Festival – Music lovers flock to the beautiful lakeside town of Lucerne every April for the world-class Lucerne Music Festival extravaganza. There are a host of other reasons to visit this charming place all year round too.

 


PRO TIP! According to the Swiss Federal Council, the four national languages of Switzerland are German, French, Italian, and Romansh. The two most widely spoken non-national languages are English and Portuguese. If your knowledge of Switzerland’s national languages is limited, make sure you know these tips for traveling to a country without knowing the language.

 


Travel Documents Needed for U.S. Travel to Switzerland

The required travel documents needed for U.S. to Switzerland travel are fairly straightforward. Many U.S. citizens wonder, “Do U.S. citizens need a visa to travel to Switzerland”? The answer is no as long as you are traveling for tourism purposes for fewer than 90 days.

The current requirements for visitors from the United States are:

  • A passport that has at least 6 months of validity after your scheduled date of departure and with at least one blank page
  • The required COVID-19 documentation (learn more about specific COVID-19 related requirements below)

COVID-19-related requirements can change in an instant, so check Switzerland travel restrictions and requirements frequently leading up to your departure date. Find the information you need regarding travel documentation and requirements by using this interactive travel restrictions and requirements world map or by visiting the State Department's Switzerland travel page or the U.S. embassy's website.

 

Switzerland Entry Restrictions for COVID

International travelers should be very familiar with U.S. travel to Switzerland COVID-related restrictions. As of April 2022, travelers from the United States will NOT be permitted to enter Switzerland without proof of full vaccination within the previous 270 days.

If you have any confusion about transit through Switzerland COVID-related issues, you can use this travel check resource from Switzerland’s Federal Office of Public Health to ensure you are considered fully vaccinated with accepted vaccines and are able to enter Switzerland.

It's important to remain aware of relevant international travel restrictions, as they can change quickly and without warning. Bookmark our interactive world map on your phone so you can regularly check for Switzerland’s travel restrictions updates.

 


What to Know About the Schengen Area


While Switzerland isn't part of the European Union, it is a member of the Schengen Area. This is a region of 26 European countries that have abolished their internal borders for the free and unrestricted movement of travelers. Schengen visa holders can move freely within the countries in this area.

U.S. citizens are not required to obtain a Schengen visa to enter Switzerland for fewer than 90 days. However, if you are not a U.S. citizen and are not a citizen of one of the other Schengen visa-exempt countries, you will need to apply for this visa.

If you need a Schengen visa for your trip to Switzerland, check out our series of Schengen visa resources:


 

Travel to the U.S. from Switzerland

It's important for international travelers to remember that there may be restrictions in place when it's time to return to the U.S. as well.

Using this interactive travel map from WorldTrips and Sherpa is a great way to stay informed. Travelers will need to be aware of restrictions and requirements upon entering the country of their visit and when returning home.

The current USA entry requirements related to COVID have been in place since December 2021, and it's advisable that travelers check the U.S. State Department travel website for updates. There are no distinct U.S. travel restrictions by country, as everyone, including U.S. citizens, must meet all entry requirements. As of the publication date of this article, the U.S. travel restrictions in place are:

  • A negative viral COVID test result. The test must be taken within one day of the travelers' flight departure.
  • In lieu of a negative test, passengers can provide a statement that they have recently recovered from COVID-19. Proof that you have recovered from COVID within the past 90-days or less is required, as well as a letter from a licensed health care provider.
  • While vaccination is not required for U.S. citizens, it is highly recommended that all visitors to the United States be fully vaccinated. (Travelers who are not U.S. citizens or residents must be fully vaccinated in order to enter the U.S.)

If you plan to travel to the U.S. from Switzerland, even if you are a returning citizen, you will need to adhere to the above restrictions and requirements. If you are a fully vaccinated American, you can enjoy a Swiss vacation without too much fuss. Be sure to double-check travel requirements as your date of departure nears and before you head back home.


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